On my way to Sedona this February I noticed signs for Montezuma’s Well. I had never been there before so I decided to do some exploring. I’m glad I did, it was such a fascinating and intriguing place to discover.
Montezuma’s Well is actually a sink hole that was formed by a collapse of a limestone cavern. Over one million gallons of water a day flow into the well. The constant supply of warm, fresh water provides an aquatic habitat and has served as an oasis for wildlife and humans for thousands of years.
The Sinagua people lived in and around the well for years. In the early 1400, the southern Sinagua left their homes and farms that they had been cultivating for 400 years. It is still a mystery as to why they left. They vacated Montezuma Well, Montezuma Castle, Tuzigoot and more then 50 ridge-top pueblos in the Verde Valley. No Sinagua tribes exist today.
At the Rim of the well was 20-30 person Pueblo built in the 1300’s during the final settlement of the Sinagua. Inside the well wall are the one room cliff dwellings. They faced east to catch the morning sun to keep them warm during cold winter mornings. To enter the dwellings you had to walk along narrow ledges or use wooden ladders.
The Sinagua also dug their own mile long canal along the Wet Beaver creek. The canal was dug with stone tools, three feet deep and used to water their crops.
If you get a chance to pass through Verde Valley in Arizona, I recommend making this stop. It’s not far from the highway and really easy to get to.